The curriculum at Saddleworth School is based on the premise of “A Humanising Curriculum with an International Dimension”.
The curriculum at Saddleworth School is based on the premise of “A Humanising Curriculum with an International Dimension”. This means that the expectation of all students should be to experience a curriculum which not only prepares them for their chosen learning pathway in further education or employment, but develops and encourages a deeper understanding of the world in which they live, their own values and those of others from differing belief systems. The curriculum is personalised according to need and aspiration and draws on the best elements of the schools former Language College status to develop a broader understanding of life and learning from an international perspective.
Key Stage 3
The curriculum is designed to provide a broad, balanced range of knowledge and skills in keeping with National Curriculum requirements delivered in such a way as to enable all students to demonstrate exceptional progress from their starting point. The curriculum includes a wide variety of learning experiences provided both in and out with the classroom. Students in Y7 and Y8 follow a course of English and Philosophy for which an additional time element is provided from that normally allocated for RE, PHSE, and Drama alongside more traditional subjects. All foundation subjects are given equal weighting as are core subjects in order to give the students a balanced learning experience. There is provision made within MFL to enable more able linguists to begin the study of a second language, whilst others may consolidate study of the first MFL or pursue a programme of functional English and /or literacy. Students receive the equivalent of two lessons of 55 minutes duration of PE per week in keeping with National guidelines. Y9 students receive a similarly balanced curriculum, but EP is replaced by English and those subjects previously subsumed.
Curriculum offer and Options at KS4
The curriculum at KS4 is designed to enable all students to follow a highly personalised pathway in order to access their chosen progression route at the end of Y11. The majority of students will progress to level 3 courses of study and the majority of these will go onto University. Many of our students will successfully apply for high performing Universities with very exacting entry standards. The KS4 curriculum is designed to provide for those entry standards for students who aspire to that pathway; as such, the curriculum is designed around the progress 8 measure to correspond with anticipated demand from HE and FE providers. The available options are based on historical choice and opportunities for personalised routes of specialism or breadth; the majority of students will follow a diet of:
- English (the majority of students will also take GCSE English Literature)
- Science (Core and Additional – worth two GCSE qualifications)
- RE (GCSE)
- Health (Box 1) – one choice from GCSE and BTEC PE, BTEC Dance, an internally designed alternative curriculum package to replace Skill Force in Y10 and Skill Force in Y11, Jamie Oliver Cookery BTEC and BTEC Health & Social Care, and additionally, the Biology component of Triple Science; all will include mandatory elements of physical activity. Students taking Jamie Oliver or Skill Force will not study RE to GCSE level as these double options run across both blocks, but will study compulsory elements of RE, PHSE and Citizenship
- One subject from Box 2 which corresponds to box 2 from the Progress 8 measure and includes History and Geography, Computer programming, Triple Science and two languages; a functional English alternative is available for a small number of SEND students.
- Two option subjects chosen from box 3 in priority order with two reserves; this includes both academic and vocational courses, with choices available for students of all abilities
Staffing is determined by option requirements rather than the other way round, however subjects that do not attract sufficient numbers to be viable will not run and students will be allocated a reserve choice.
A student will be able to change an option late in the year as aspirations and plans can change and it is important that the offer is designed to meet the needs of the child (within practical limitations) and not the school systems.
It is expected that the curriculum is delivered in such a way as to enthuse and inspire students of all ages, thereby enabling them to maximise progress from starting point and achieve that to which they aspire. Lessons are 55 minutes long and there are 28 of these each week, mainly taught in double sessions to enable greater depth of coverage and exploration of ideas. There are 25 hours and 40 minutes of learning time plus one hour and 15 minutes of assemblies and tutor group activities; an additional 5 minutes is added to period 1 to allow for registration and ensuring that students are ready to learn. In total, students have 27 hours and 20 minutes contact time with their teachers each week.
Effective curriculum delivery takes place through:
- Decision Making
Pupils demonstrate excellent concentration and are rarely off task even in extended periods without direction from an adult.” They are involved in making choices and decisions over how they learn and assume responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others.
Clarity of Purpose
- Knowing what
- Knowing how
- Knowing why
Pupils know and understand what they are learning, how they will be learning and why they are learning. They know and understand the subject content, the process of how they will be learning and the benefits to them of the learning both inside and outside school.
Use of Assessment Data
Pupils are given tasks that have been planned carefully to meet their learning needs based on assessment data.” They have the opportunity whilst learning to get and give feedback. Tasks are adapted for individuals and groups based on this feedback.
Organising and Analysing Information
Pupils are able to find and analyse a range of information from a variety of sources”. With the information they have found, they are able to identify patterns and trends as well as organise the results into a coherent explanation of the problem or issue being studied.
- Focused on solutions
- Strategies and tools
- Questioning and Creativity
Pupils are focused on the big picture and come up with solutions to problems rather focused on limited tasks.” They are aware of, and persist with, a range of appropriate thinking strategies and tools to solve problems. They are encouraged to ask rich questions and be creative.
Stretched Through Challenge
- Positive Attitude
- Extending Tasks
Pupils are prepared to tackle challenging tasks and issues with a positive attitude and are resilient.” Learning tasks are predominantly “low threshold, high ceiling” allowing all to be challenged.
- Variety of Methods
Pupils are given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding through a variety of methods. Their demonstrations show clear application to the problem being studied and real grasp of the core ideas.
Progressing own Learning
- Improvement Strategies
Pupils keenness and commitment to succeed and ability to grasp opportunities to extend and improve their own learning is exceptional” They are aware of where they are in terms of teacher and self-assessment and what strategies they can use to improve.
Reviewing and Evaluating
- Focused on Learning Outcomes
- On-going in Lesson
- Teacher, Peer and Self-Assessment
Pupils have the opportunity, in a variety of ways, to review and evaluate against learning outcomes at appropriate times during the lesson.” There is a culture of evaluation in the class where self and peer assessment is encouraged as well as improvement and progress championed.
Personalisation and Enjoyment
- Absorbed and Enthused
Learning is well adapted to, and shows an excellent understanding of, individual need. Pupils obviously enjoy their learning and show real enthusiasm in the lesson. They are absorbed with the learning tasks and want to know more.
Pupil Support Centre
Students who are disengaged from and find access difficult to mainstream lessons are accommodated in our own facility that offers an alternative curriculum rather than us expensive external provision over which we have little quality control. This is staffed with subject experts and specialists in working with students who experience rather more challenge in their lives and each student has a bespoke programme of study and activity based on need.
Progression beyond Saddleworth
Students will be provided with the information, advice and guidance they require in order to make the best decisions about progression route beyond Saddleworth. This takes place using both external and internal expertise and particularly in consultation with our partners in post 16 provision. Careers events take place for Y9 and Y11 students and colleges, employers and Apprenticeship providers are present at the Options Evening. Students are offered a series of aspirational business lunches with high performing representatives of professions they may choose to pursue and as well as mock interviews for employment, all interviews for OSFC take place in school. AS level equivalent qualifications in Critical Thinking and the FSMQ are offered to those students who are likely to achieve the highest grades in English and History, and Maths respectively. AS levels in other curriculum subjects are not offered as lower grades may be to their detriment when applying to high performing universities.